Helping Offenders Get Back on Track
Since a lot of our listeners don’t really understand the how the Pocahontas county Day Report Center works, we asked the center’s Director, Danny Arbogast to enlighten us.
Danny, how do people get assigned to Day Report?
“The primary way that individuals get assigned to Day Report is through either Magistrate Court or Circuit Court” Arbogast said. “In Magistrate Court, a lot of times they are on bond supervision awaiting their sentences and they get released on bail or on bond and then we give them supervision -we drug screen them, and they have to call in every day. Now, if they are sentenced to Day Report then they have to call in daily and we drug screen them as well, and then we do assessments on them to see if they are high risk or low risk area offenders, We look at the risk and need and then we put them in programs. Then those classes and programs, or courses that they take are to reduce the recidivism rate -that means so they don’t return to the system after they leave our program- as well as that, we do community service with people who are on Day Report. Then we also have adult Drug Court which just came back to Pocahontas County last July. And (for) those individuals, a referral will be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor will take a look at it and we will talk about it in our Drug Court meetings, and then if we want to accept someone for drug court, we put them on Drug Court for a year. It is very similar to Day Report, but a little bit more accountable on drug Court.”
“Mainly, they have to have non-violent offenses -we do not accept sex offenders on our programs. That’s pretty much it, I mean, if it is a non-violent offense and not a sex offense, we can put them on Day Report, and possibly even Drug court, if they have a non-violent offense and they have a drug related issue going on in their life.
And the good thing about Drug court, once they complete a program like this, they can go to the courts and ask for their offense to be expunged off their records, so their felony will not follow them and that’s one opportunity they have going for them verses going to a jail or prison to complete their sentence, and that felony staying on their record.”
Danny, have you done any studies on what the actual rate of recidivism is on the people who complete the programs?
“Well, since it is a new program, our recidivism rate is very low because I haven’t had the opportunity to keep following people to see if they come back. Right now, our recidivism rate is below five percent per month because we are not seeing the same people coming back and back because we haven’t put a lot of people through the program yet, but I have tried.”
When a person is first sentenced to attend Day Report, what can they expect on that day they arrive here?
“Well, first and foremost, when they come through our door, we treat them with respect. And a lot of times we have a good rapport with them on that level. Once they do come through, we do an intake process on them. We find out where they live, do a background, do assessments on them and we try and find out what their risk and need areas are, and put them in proper programming. They can expect they will get programming; some treatment; and we also do corrections aspect. We put people in therapy through Seneca and Mind Ease solutions. They have to take therapy. So, we have to change their criminal thinking process, or nothings going to work if we don’t attack that and change that. And once we start changing their criminal thinking and the way they view things, we start to try and find them jobs eventually and get them back on their feet and getting them re-adjusted into the community, where they can become productive citizens.”
Can they be kicked out of the program?
“Most definitely. Yes, and we do have some very detailed rules and guidelines that they have to go by. We call that revocation process. They get revokes, and they will go back to the courts with an affidavit into the Prosecutor, and the Prosecutor takes it back to in front of the judge and the judge hears it or the magistrate and they determine whether they are going to be revokes and go back to jail or prison. But that’s the last option we have is revocation, We try to do everything we can for an offender or for a client before we actually revoke them.”
“We are networking in the community as well, and getting job opportunities out there with the employers. We work with the FRN, we work with the workforce groups, we work with Seneca Mental Health and we work with Mind East solutions in the treatment aspects. So we are learning how to get individuals help and get them back on their feet to where their self esteem changes, and their character changes.”
Nest week, Danny Arbogast will explain to us just how the Day Report Program saves taxpayer money, in addition to helping offenders straighten their lives out.